Chennai: It is not often that one gives up a prestigious career in the Indian Administrative Service. R Rangarajan, who emerged 45th in the all India civil services exam, joined the IAS and served in Assam for a few years but gave it all up in a mission to serve the people.
Inspired by actor Kamal Haasan’s new party, Makkal Needhi Maiam, he is now the party’s candidate for the Chennai South Lok Sabha constituency.
Rangarajan talked to News Today TV / Maalaisudar TV in an exclusive interview on his aspirations and how he would contribute to solve the many problems that Chennai South faces:
Asked about the basic problems in Chennai’s outlying areas regarding drainage, stormwater drains, water supply, etc., Rangarajan says Chennai has gone from bad to worse in the last few years. While several suburban areas were added to Greater Chennai region in the hope that their basic problems would be resolved, Rangarajan says there has been no serious attempt to address these issues.
“Water scarcity is severe. The need for drinking water is so acute that desperate people tell me during my campaign along an entire stretch of 7 to 8 km that they would vote for me en bloc if I can provide them water,” he says.
Underground drainage continued to be denied to a large number of people in this constituency. The situation is such that an ecological disaster is inevitable with sewage from sumps contaminating ground water.
Open drains also contribute to spread of diseases. How does Rangarajan hope to deal with this situation?
“Yes, it is true that this is a situation for an ecological disaster. People in my party, especially Kamal Sir, and I have been in discussions with various experts to find a holistic solution to the issues relating to infrastructure. I have discussed with Janakarajan (of MIDS) and others relating to solutions to the city’s infrastructure needs, and we can provide a holistic plan of action,” promises Rangarajan.
Chennai region suffered enormously during the floods and heavy rains in the last few years. Lakhs of people lost their belongings and life savings. They are still struggling to return to their old standard of living. The scars still remain. How does Rangarajan propose to ensure that the city will not suffer due to flooding again?
“This is a serious and emotional issue for a large number of people. They lost not just electronic appliances but also cars and houses. It will take a long time for them to recover from that. We have prepared a plan which will include desilting of rivers, canals, try to expand their areas close to the original line of the rivers, and better management of river and reservoirs. We have floods one year and water scarcity, the next. Most of the rainwater goes waste into the sea. These issues are sadly neglected. MNM will provide a plan to solve all these issues,” he said.
Transportation issues and traffic chaos add to the problems of Chennai South. When asked how he proposes to handle such issues, Rangarajan said, “Not only the OMR and ECR areas, even the business districts of T. Nagar, Mylapore and Adyar are affected by traffic issues. We will provide an effective plan of traffic and transportation management, taking care of the present and future.”
“I have been brought up in Chennai and know all its issues well. I studied here and I work here. Our party knows how to address the issues facing Chennai,” he said confidently.
How is the response of the people to your new party? “There is overwhelming response to Kamal Sir and his approach to issues facing the people. People are looking for a change. They think the MNM is a genuine party. There are a lot of youngsters joining our party every day. Even during our campaigns,” said Rangarajan.
A problem for the party will be to convert goodwill into votes. When asked how they propose to do that, the MNM candidate said, “We have a good and enthusiastic machinery to convert goodwill into votes.”